Are you one of those people who put off doing things just because you don’t like doing them? Or finds 101 other things to do just so you won’t have to do that ONE task you hate? That one task that would take 5 minutes if you just DID it already?
I am. If there’s something I’m not keen on doing, I will find a million other things to do besides that. I will reorganize my closet just so that I won’t have to do the dishes. I will alphabetize my DVDs just so I don’t have to vacuum. I will clean out my e-mail just so I won’t have to do the laundry. You get the idea.
I’d like to say I’m a reformed procrastinator, but I can’t. I know I’m going to slip up and put something off in the future. But, I can say that I’ve managed to get this nasty habit under control by implementing a few easy rules.
1 Give yourself a timeout. I am notorious for wasting hours and hours on the Internet. Ever sit down at your computer and then look up to realize you’ve been there for 3 hours and haven’t accomplished anything? Yup, been there. Done that. It’s time for a timeout. Just like a kid, you have to take away the toy before they’ll finish their dinner. Put the computer away – better yet, turn it OFF – for an hour and see how much work you can get done.
2. Never put off things that take you 5 minutes to do. This was the biggest lesson I took away from Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project.” I’ll never be able to explain why I hate putting the dishes away, but it’s one of those 5-minute (10, max) chores that I will put off until I have a sink full of dirty dishes. Also, I hate putting away folded laundry. Heck, I’ve been known to use my dryer as a second closet. (I don’t recommend it.) But at the same time, leaving these little tasks undone makes me a little crazy. They eat at me until I do them. So, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to just DO them in the first place? Yes, yes it would.
3. Prioritize and delegate. It’s OK to leave a few tasks for tomorrow – just make sure they aren’t ones you’ll continue to put off. (i.e.: Don’t go to start laundry and realize you never took the clean clothes out of the dryer last week.) Even better, ask someone in your family to help you. Key word there: ASK. Your husband/wife/child will be much more receptive to doing you a “favor” than if you “demand” something of them.
4. Reward yourself for completing your tasks. This is so important! Once you’ve completed your task – that dreadful, horrible task you’ve been putting off for a week – do something you enjoy! Take 15 minutes to read a book, make a cup of tea, eat a piece of chocolate, indulge in a reality TV show, or take a bubble bath – anything that makes you happy. If you know you’ll be doing something you enjoy just as SOON as you finish whatever hated task you’re doing, it won’t make that task seem so horrible.
5. If none of that works – LET IT GO. Maybe that task isn’t so important that it has to be done right this minute. Provided it’s not going to cause someone to call social services on you, or is detrimental to your health, let it go. Put it off and ALLOW yourself to be OK with that. No matter what anyone says, you are NOT Super Woman. And it’s OK to turn a blind eye to some things. It’s good enough.
So, what tasks are you procrastinating doing right now?